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By: Mishka Ramdas, Digital Copywriter at Your Perfect Africa
Lake Kariba is Zambia’s Hidden Riviera. This man-made lake boasts beautiful vistas and gorgeous sunsets. Enjoy an array of activities excellent fishing, boating and water sports. Lake Kariba covers an area of almost 6,000 square kilometres and is fed by the Zambezi River, which originates in Zambia and flows through Mozambique towards the Indian Ocean.
André Coyne, a French engineer conceptualised and designed Lake Kariba. Construction on Lake Kariba began in the early 1950s out of the necessity to generate hydroelectric energy for Zambia and Zimbabwe. Kariba holds important value for Zimbabwe and Zambia, especially since its establishment has enhanced the economy, electricity, and tourism.
Due to the construction of the dam, the surrounding areas would be flooded. This in turn would be catastrophic resulting in the loss of habitat for both humans and animals. As a precautionary measure, the Tongan tribes of the Gwembe Valley were relocated. This relocation was negotiated based on the economic benefit for both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ultimately, the concept of Lake Kariba had become a topic of controversy. The local people believed that the dam’s construction would anger the Zambezi River God, Nyaminyami and believed he would break down the bridge leading to catastrophic floods.
To this day, it is believed that Nyaminyami lives under a rock close to the Lake Kariba dam wall. The rock has been named “Kariwa“ meaning to trap. Locals have warned that canoeing past this location can be fatal. The history of Lake Kariba is riddled with historic mythology and is described by locals as a spiritually powerful body of water that is revered and respected by the locals of Zambia and Zimbabwe.